Chessable Masters Play-In: Martinez and Anton top scorers

by Carlos Alberto Colodro
2/1/2024 – The first event of the Champions Chess Tour kicked off on Wednesday. A 9-round Swiss open featuring over 200 players saw Peruvian GM Jose Martinez claiming first place on tiebreaks after scoring as many points as Spanish GM David Anton. Remarkably, Martinez, an online-chess specialist, outscored the likes of Hikaru Nakamura and Alireza Firouzja on his 25th birthday.

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Looking for spots in the top division

Three qualified players joined almost 200 GMs in the first phase of the Chessable Masters, the Play-In. This 9-round Swiss served to find 69 players who, together with Magnus Carlsen, Maxime Vachier-Lagrave, Vladimir Fedoseev, Ian Nepomniachtchi, Anish Giri and Vladislav Artemiev, will participate in the Division Placement stage on Thursday — players then fight to enter the knockout phase in one of three divisions.

Two players finished the tournament (with a 10+2 time control) tied for first place with 7½/9 points each, Jose Martinez from Peru and David Anton from Spain. Three participants finished a half point behind: Hikaru Nakamura, Alireza Firouzja and Samvel Ter-Sahakyan.

Remarkably, Martinez outscored some of the strongest players in the world on his 25th birthday. The Peruvian online-chess specialist scored six wins in a row, beating the likes of Aryan Tari and Vincent Keymer.

In round 4, the eventual winner of the event defeated Dutch GM Robby Kevlishvili in style.

18.Bxh6 is the perfect way to break through. After 18...gxh6 19.Qd2 Bf8 20.Nxh6+ Kh7 21.Nf6+ it becomes clear why White’s sacrifice was justified in the first diagrammed position.

21...Kg7 22.Nhg4 Kh8 23.Qg5 and Kevlishvili finally resigned. The black pieces on the queenside are completely out of play.

While Martinez started the day with six wins in a row and grabbed three draws in rounds 7-9 to remain atop the standings (including a lucky escape against Nakamura), Anton lost in round 4 against Kacper Piorun, and ended the day with five consecutive victories.

In the third round, Anton’s rook and knight completely dominated Rodrigo Vasquez’s counterparts.

Material is equal and Black has a passed pawn on the d-file, but resigning the game, as Black did here, makes perfect sense — e.g. 42...Kb7 43.Rf7+ Ka8 44.Rc7, and there is no satisfactory way to save the knight.

Martinez and Anton were two of the fifteen players who qualified to fight for spots in the Division I of the event.

Final standings

# Player Rating Pts.
GM Jose Martinez Alcantara
2722 7.5
GM David Anton Guijarro
2655 7.5
GM Hikaru Nakamura
2774 7
GM Samvel Ter-Sahakyan
2641 7
GM Alireza Firouzja
2812 7
GM Vincent Keymer
2741 6.5
GM Rauf Mamedov
2722 6.5
GM Wesley So
2856 6.5
GM Peter Svidler
2663 6.5
GM Yu Yangyi
2748 6.5
GM Denis Lazavik
2745 6.5
GM David Paravyan
2644 6.5
GM Aleksandar Indjic
2527 6.5
GM Levon Aronian
2720 6.5
GM Kirill Shevchenko
2645 6.5
GM Benjamin Bok
2612 6.5
GM Kacper Piorun
2413 6
GM Aleksandr Shimanov
2623 6
GM Oleksandr Bortnyk
2636 6
GM Shamsiddin Vokhidov
2630 6
GM Igor Lysyj
2609 6
GM S P Sethuraman
2576 6
GM Yuriy Kuzubov
2702 6
GM Haik Martirosyan
2621 6
GM Alexander Grischuk
2684 6
GM Vladimir Malakhov
2624 6
GM Aleksandr Rakhmanov
2629 6
GM Jeffery Xiong
2669 6
GM Mikhail Al Antipov
2649 6
GM Martyn Kravtsiv
2614 6

...202 players

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Carlos Colodro is a Hispanic Philologist from Bolivia. He works as a freelance translator and writer since 2012. A lot of his work is done in chess-related texts, as the game is one of his biggest interests, along with literature and music.
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